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BATTLE OVER THE WORDS "MADE IN THE USA" FOR NEW BALANCE
Published April 5, 1995
In Boston, Chris Reidy examines New Balance's fight with the FTC over the use of the words "Made in the USA" on their shoes. Last September, the FTC filed a complaint against New Balance because the company uses imported soles thus making the "Made in the USA" label deceptive. New Balance Chair Jim Davis contends that because most of the shoe is made in the U.S., his company has earned the right to use the "Made in the USA" label. New Balance and the FTC are set to go to court in July over the issue, "and the result could affect U.S. manufacturers making everything from cars to computers to feather dusters." Davis says the reason New Balance has to import the shoes' soles from China is that the technology to make soles for running shoes "simply does not exist in the United States." Davis notes that the upper portion of the shoe, which accounts for 70-80% of its value, is made in the U.S. Because an FTC victory could have "wide ramifications," some believe the FTC is looking to establish precedent "that would give it ammunition to go after larger targets" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/4).